by Lisa A. Grimaldi | April 19, 2016

IMEX, the international meetings industry show, opened today in Frankfurt, Germany. The show, which runs through Thursday, has 3,500 exhibiting companies representing 150 countries. 

Among the 42 new exhibiters are destinations including Aruba, Catalunya, Guatemala, Kenya, Montenegro, Romania and Sardinia, and technology firms such as Catchbox, Convertio, Digivents and Fielddrive. IMEX also is welcoming 20 new hosted-buyer groups (the total number of such groups was not available at press time), including first-time groups from China, Latin America, Poland and the United States.

The IMEX educational program, based at the Inspiration Hub, will offer more than 180 seminars and workshops. New this year is a series of TED-style talks focused on "Trends and Future-Think" sponsored by the Swedish Network of Convention Bureaus. The Play Room (hosted by Play With A Purpose) brings its interactive "quirkshops" to IMEX in Frankfurt for the first time.

During the opening ceremony, keynoter David DuBois, president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and immediate past-chair of the Convention Industry Council, highlighted the worldwide impact of the meetings industry on the economy and overall marketplace beyond tourism. "The business-events industry provides the catalyst for transitioning toward a knowledgeable and creative society. Indeed, governments themselves acknowledge that it takes a meeting or a summit to solve global issues and to avoid catastrophe… And when scientists, medics and technologists meet, they too change the world."